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This piece is presented by the Lincoln County Economic Development Association.
In many Lincoln County communities, residents work in Sioux Falls and commute from their hometown.
That’s not exactly the case in Canton, which has a booming business community but could use more new residents and more places for them to live.
“We have a real housing shortage on every level. Starter homes, upper-level homes, multifamily, you name it, we could use it,” city manager Amanda Mack said.
So about a year ago, the community decided to get serious about it.
Canton passed a program to rebate the city’s portion of new residential property taxes for five years. After that, five houses were built.
“And they all came because of the housing initiative,” Mack said. “So we worked with local Realtors to get the word out. I talked to one banker whose clients were trying to decide between Canton and another community, and they wanted to build, and this makes sense for them.”
The incentive attracted Nielson Construction, which opened up 15 lots in the northeast part of Canton, has sold nine of them and has two houses built and ready for buyers.
“It’s a great idea from a small-city perspective to try to help get builders like ourselves to these communities,” Jamie Nielson said. “And it definitely helps first-time homebuyers to ease that tension the first few years.”
The price of a lot in Nielson’s Blair Estates development is about $30,000. Houses range from $225,000 to $230,000.
“In Sioux Falls, it’s awfully tough to find a first-time home,” Nielson said. “So a lot of communities like Canton will continue to be communities for those first-time homebuyers. As long as we finish up this development strong, we definitely would like to look at other opportunities in Canton.”
As residential growth takes off, other local business opportunities can come together and enhance the overall appeal of the community, said Nick Fosheim, executive director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Association.
“We know that business location and expansion decisions are made using a variety of factors. Quality-of-life factors like housing can play a role in making those investments,” he said.
Canton leaders know many people travel to town daily to work at big employers, including Lincoln County government, Adams Thermal Systems and Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center.
Along with residential growth, the next goal is attracting more stores and restaurants to support the population. The city recently partnered with a national firm, Buxton, to help recruit retailers and enacted a program for commercial and industrial projects that will rebate up to 2 percent of city sales tax on new construction or expansion projects.
“So there’s some room to do really cool things, and what I like most is it’s not just focused on new businesses,” Mack said. “If we have a business in town thinking about expanding or updating equipment or branching into another market, we can help them be successful. Maybe it’s just enough to push them to do it.”
Canton’s proactive and collaborative approach to growth likely will pay off, Fosheim said.
“Communities in our region know what they want and that it takes a team approach to be successful,” he said.
Canton has a booming business community but could use more new residents and more places for them to live. So the town got serious about incentivizing that growth.